Hello and welcome to the internet presence of the English-language book club in Bielefeld. Not the only one, but the one that I am in, so it makes sense that this one is on my website and the other ones are not.
How does it work?
Each monthly meetup is hosted by a member of the group on a rotating basis. The host decides which book the group will read. They can suggest, say, three ideas and have a little vote, or just decide on a book; the second system works better than you might think.
It doesn’t have to be a book (though it usually will be!). It could also be a journalistic article or a short story. Or even a film – the host decides!
When do we meet?
The Wednesday group meets every second Wednesday of the month at 19:30.
The Thursday group meets every last Thursday of the month at 19:30.
Where do we meet?
The meetup’s host decides! Sometimes it will be the host’s living room, sometimes a quiet café in Mitte, sometimes a park, sometimes a space at the university.
What kinds of books do we discuss?
It’s a super mixed bag. We’ve read character-driven novels like Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, classic scifi like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, comedy/fantasy like Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and memoirs like Walk through walls by Marina Abramovic. We also read non-fiction, but this is rarer.
Do the two groups ever mix?
Yes! In February, the Thursday group organised a movie night and invited the Wednesday group. In July we had a communal picnic.
Are the groups only for native speakers?
You do not have to be a native speaker, but your English has to be good enough to comfortably hold a conversation on any topic.
The groups are currently about 30% native speaker, 50% German, 20% other language backgrounds.
Is there an age restriction?
Nope. As long as you are an adult, you are welcome.
How often would I be expected to join?
You will be expected to at least try to come along every month. Of course, you can be ill, or out of town or something. But the book club meeting should have a fixed spot in your calendar. In this way, this group is different from the other book clubs in Bielefeld.
Doing it this way means that most members are present every month. This means the discussions are better, people really get to know each other, the group has more staying power. It’s a bit like doing sports; if you have a fixed appointment, then you actually go, but if you can choose to go or not, then you usually end up not going.
If you are looking for an English speaking social group in Bielefeld, but don’t want to have a fixed appointment once a month, I have compiled a list of other groups here.
Would I have to buy a new book once a month?
If you like to read from paper, I strongly recommend Medimops.de for cheap second-hand books.
Also: the library! Bielefeld library costs 25 euros a year and also allows you to take out e-books from the whole of NRW.
We also have other ways of getting you an electronic file. (wink, wink)
How do members communicate?
We have a WhatsApp group.
The WhatsApp group is for existing members; if you have been to at least one meeting and have decided you would like to make the monthly commitment to join the group, we will add you.
Sounds good! How can I join?
Both book clubs are currently full, but you can ask to be put on the waiting list. Then, when a spot becomes available, you can join us once or twice to see if it is for you.
If you are a native English speaker, or have a language background other than German, please let me know in your email. To keep the group international, non-Germans get preferential treatment. Kinda mean, but better for the group as a whole.
Please email me on bookclub (at) heddwennewton.com.
Looking forward to meeting you!
I wrote you a message, but didn’t get a response?
I always reply to everyone, but then sometimes I don’t hear back, leading me to think my email may have ended up in spam. So if you didn’t hear from me, please check your spam folder to see if my message ended up there!